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Old 03-09-2012, 03:07 PM   #95
D i r t - Z a m b o n i
BetaTrialsGuy's Avatar
Joined: Sep 2006
Location: CA desert in Winter / Traveling in Summer
Oddometer: 168
Desert Tortoise

Having seen a Desert Tortoise on our Bomb Run ride, I decided to look up some information
about them on Wikipedia.

That was only the 2nd Desert Tortoise I've seen in nearly 20 years
of riding in the Southern California deserts. He was dead center on the Bradshaw Trail, and
likely to have been run over by a 4 wheeler, so Don (1effiname) picked him up and removed
him off to the side of the road, in the direction that the tortoise looked like he was headed.

There are some photos of the tortoise previously on this thread, I think?

Here's what Wikipedia says about our tortoise friend and our actions:
The desert tortoise is a herbivore. Grasses form the bulk of its diet, but it also eats herbs, annual wildflowers, and new growth of cacti, as well as their fruit and flowers. Rocks and soil are also ingested, perhaps as a means of maintaining intestinal digestive bacteria as a source of supplementary calcium or other minerals. As with birds, stones may also function as gastroliths, enabling more efficient digestion of plant material in the stomach.

Much of the tortoise’s water intake comes from moisture in the grasses and wildflowers they consume in the spring. A large urinary bladder can store over forty percent of the tortoise's body weight in water, urea, uric acid and nitrogenous wastes. During very dry times they may give off waste as a white paste rather than a watery urine. During periods of adequate rainfall, they drink copiously from any pools they find, and eliminate solid urates. Adult tortoises can survive a year or more without access to water.

One defense mechanism the tortoise has when it is handled is to empty its bladder. This can leave the tortoise in a very vulnerable condition in dry areas, and they should never be alarmed, handled or picked up in the wild unless they are in imminent danger (like in a road). If they must be handled, and their bladder is emptied, then water should be provided in order to restore the fluid in their body.

So, it looks like the right thing was done by Don!

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